American release of Bab al Shams (Gate of the Sun)

  American release of Bab al Shams (Gate of the Sun) Elias Khoury’s new book, Gate of the Sun, is the result of years of researching and collecting stories from Palestinians both in refugee camps and exiled around the world. Winner of Le Monde Diplomatique’s Book of the Year and hailed by Ha’aretz as a “breathtaking epic,” Gate of the Sun is a momentous work of fiction from one of the world’s most troubled regions. The book was adapted by director Yousry Nasrallah's award-winning 2004 film, “The Door to the Sun.”

The first magnum opus of the Palestinian saga, Khoury chronicles the passing of a beloved midwife in the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, through which the reader enters the Palestinian world of displacement, fear and tenuous hope. Using the storyteller's intimate and haunting flights of memory like the famed Arabic epic A Thousand and One Nights, Khoury depicts a doctor telling stories to his comatose friend in an attempt to keep him alive. The patient, Yunes, is from Galilee, where he left Nahla, the love of his life. As the novel unfolds at Yunes’ bedside, Khoury tells the complex Palestinian story and empathetically sheds light on the turbulent history between Palestinians and Israelis. He reveals a territory where the categories of "us" and "them" are inextricably entwined, and takes the reader on an odyssey of love as much as horror.

A leading Arab writer and intellectual, Khoury is the editor-in-chief of the cultural supplement of Beirut’s daily newspaper, Al-Nahar. Currently teaching at New York University, he is the author of eleven novels and several books of essays, which have been translated and published internationally. His visits to a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan at age 19 fostered a life-long commitment to Palestinian human rights, which he has advocated ever since through his writings and his work at the Palestine Research Center in Beirut.

Gate of the Sun is a part of the Rainmaker Translations series, with the support of the International Institute of Modern Letters: Babelmed editorial team

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